Do you ever get mad at the people you love because you’ve requested some change for the good or health of themselves or your relationship, but they won’t or don’t see the need for change?

For almost a decade, I lived with a spouse who struggled with alcohol addiction. In the early years of our crisis, I made polite requests like asking him to attend Al-Anon meetings, not drive the kids after he’d been drinking, or not to drain our bank account before payday to buy alcohol. Since I asked nicely and expressed my love for him and our family, I expected he would see the light and accept the help he needed.

As the months passed and there were no improvements, my repeated requests sounded less polite and less like requests. I began issuing demands and ultimatums. I was anxious because our lives were spinning out of control, and I was terrified that our family would fall apart. My frustrations turned into yelling, anger, and one embarrassing day when I threw a bunch of dishes through our kitchen window. It turns out that my struggling former spouse wasn’t the only person who needed change.

Is there someone in your life—or maybe a group of people—who isn’t bringing out God’s best in you? Some indicators:

  • Everything that they do irritates you.

  • You spend a lot of mental energy rehearsing future conversations with them.

  • Your words, actions, or attitudes around them don’t reflect Jesus’ words, actions, or attitudes.

  • You see them as problems rather than remembering that they are beloved image bearers created by God.

In Matthew 7:3-5, Jesus taught us to pay more attention to the planks (our sins/character defects) than others. I definitely had NOT done that. Our addiction situation revealed my struggles and shortcomings. During those long months in my prayer closet, I sensed the Holy Spirit asking me: You can’t change him, but are You willing to allow me to change You?

Even though they may be entirely wrong, your response is your responsibility. If you’ve been a part of this Happy Monday community, you’ve heard me advocate for healthy boundaries, accountability, and even legal action when necessary. At the same time, you are still accountable for how you handle yourself. Where safety isn’t an issue, Satan would like nothing better for you to destroy your relationship with them because of your healthy, unhelpful, or unholy response.

What could it look like to accept that you can’t change them but are willing to allow the Holy Spirit to change you?

In Colossians 3:12-15, the Apostle Paul uses clothing as an analogy to cast a vision. I love that he uses clothes because, as women, we can relate!

As you read, pay attention to how we’re to respond to others:

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body, you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. -Colossians 3:12-15 NLT

When I look at Paul’s list of how I’m to clothe myself, it seems like it will keep me business enough to stay out of other people’s business. Can I get an amen?

I can testify that God did change my reactions, and even though that didn’t stop the progression of the addiction and it still broke my family, God’s supernatural clothing protected me and my heart and led to my healing. Wearing those supernatural clothes may not fix your problems, but you will experience God’s peace, which is more than enough for whatever you need.

I want to challenge you to make a vital mindset shift today. Check this out:

Instead of thinking: If I can get them to _____________ or to stop ________________, then they’ll be much better (and I will be, too).

Your new prayer and mindset: God, help them, but clothe me with Your mercy, Your kindness, Your forgiveness, and Your patience. God, PLEASE help me keep those clothes on all day long!

We’ll need God’s help to put on these new spiritual clothes and focus on ourselves. Thankfully, God wants to answer that prayer when we trust His way.

I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU: Is there someone in your life that you’ve been trying to change, and it’s not going well? Look back at Colossians 3, and what “spiritual clothing” do you need to wear this week?

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